GARDENS BY THE BAY, THE MERLION AND MARINA BAY SANDS: SINGAPORE

Singapore Supertrees, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

GARDENS BY THE BAY is the nature-park. When I planned my trip to Singapore, this place was shown as one of the highly visited places. And I also decided to take out my time for this place. As I was visiting all the attractions alone. When you visit alone you are more comfortable in terms of timings. You no need to wait and you plan things as per your comfort level. I woke up at 7:00 am in the morning, had my breakfast at the hotel and then was standing in a taxi queue out-side of the hotel. It was already 9:00 am. And it was a clean and Sunny day, a bit hot as-well. Today I decided to take a taxi, as all the above (headline) attractions are at the same place. And I was in the mood of easy going. So I decided to take a taxi from my Hotel Square to Gardens by the Bay. I stood for 15 minutes in the taxi line to get a taxi. And finally, it’s my turn. I paid around 18 SG$ to the taxi driver. Here, I find it a little odd sometimes. Some times some taxi drivers charge as per meter and some times few charge more for the same place. They add some surge charge to the place and stuff.

GETTING TO GARDENS BY THE BAY

Nearest MRT station is Bayfront, take EXIT B and follow the underground linkway. There is a 15-20 minute walk from MRT station till Gardens by Bay. Follow the sign board as it is a very big area.

ADMISSION FEE

There is no admission fee for Garden by Bay. OCBC Skyway has SG$-8 for Adults and SG$-5 for Child. Then You can buy tickets for “Standard Flower Dome + Cloud Forest” SG$-28 for Adult and SG$-15 for Child.

I reached Gardens By the Bay at 10:00 am and was welcomed by this beautiful floating baby 🙂

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This place is full of flowers, trees, kitchen garden spices, herbs, bonsai trees and many more. There is an endless collection of Bonsai Trees. This park is a must visit destination for Nature lovers, as there are different kinds of flowers, plants, trees and herbs. They even have stalls selling herbs and they will teach you how to grow them at your house kitchen garden.

You will see here-Conservatory Flower Dome, Conservatory Cloud Forest (Here you can see the science behind rains and both have admission fee), OCBC Skyway, Supertree Grove, Far East organization children garden (this is theme water park and no admission fee), Heritage Garden, World of Plants, Sum Pavilion and Art Sculptures.

There are many eating hubs, I did not eat anything as I already had a heavy breakfast in the morning. And, I had finished sightseeing by 2:00 pm. My Next stop was The Merlion, which is next to Garden by Bay. But, you have to walk for some time or hire a taxi. 10628573_850837564934017_4765805170683635253_n10609537_850838264933947_7701555361648039101_n


THE MERLION

It is said, Merlion is Symbol that represents Singapore. If you have not visited this place then you have not visited all the top attractions in Singapore. It looks like a mythical creature which is half Lion and Half Mermaid. The 8.6 meter tall statue stands at the Marina Bay waterfront looking towards the Sea. It is a good place to take pictures and sit and relax, and spend some time.

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MARINA BAY SANDS

Marina Bay Sands is known for being one of the most expensive hotels in Singapore. The standard room starts from SG$-380 per night. But, you can visit this famous Hotel. I mean the Observation Deck of this hotel by taking admission tickets of SG$-23 for Adults and SG$-17 for children. Soar 57 levels above the heart of the city as you capture the moment of a lifetime at the stunning Sands Sky-park public observation deck.

10622790_852493804768393_1141998924097643210_nIt also has the world’s most expensive standalone casino property at SG$8 billion. The Casino is in the basement. My husband was also coming to see the most expensive Casino in the world. It was the first time in my life I have entered in Casino. I have seen Casino in Hollywood movies. And to my expectation. Whatever I have seen in movies, it was the same. I always wonder that whatever Director shows in movies is manipulated. But, not the case for casinos. It was full of People and everyone trying their luck in different areas. We decided to take a walk and understand how to play, then we will also try our luck. After observing for 30 to 40 minutes, I couldn’t understand anything. Since then, I have been visiting a Casino. And I had to play. So we reached one table where this operator was swinging the Ball in that wheel. It was not automated. There were 2 ladies playing and they were in their 50s. We saw them, and out of our expectation they were actually making them. Without thinking anything, they were just putting coins on every possible number. So, I also add my coins on one number thinking my whole life that this is my lucky number. And, I lost. I lost it all. Well, we looked at some other counters and this time my husband did some calculations at an automated machine and tried. And, top of your expectations we lost again. Even lost it all. Then we decided not to put more money and head towards Clarke Quay for our Dinner.

Clarke Quay is one of the famous food joints in Singapore. This place is very lively, actually people who come after finishing their office keep this place alive. Great small outdoor place for seating. We had Pasta and and Rice in Mushroom sauce. Actually it was very yummy. The day ends here and I am tired, tomorrow I am planning to visit Local Market of Singapore.

TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN MACAU

Macau
Macau

It will be a very exciting day and I had this place in my top list. Most of the people who come to visit HongKong; plan their one day trip to Macau. This is not a very big city and all the highly visited attractions can be covered in one day.

HOW TO REACH MACAU FERRY TERMINAL

The best way to reach is by MTR, take MTR to ‘Sheung Wan‘ (follow the MTR Map) and then take exit D, follow the sign board and you will reach Turbojet ferry station. Buy Ticket for Outer Macau-there are a lot of transportation options from outer Macau, there are many Casino Bus running free of cost from ferry terminal to Casino and to other places. There are two categories- Economy and Premium. Economy one way is around HK$ 170 adult and Premium around HK$ 410 adult.

Turbojet has smooth transactions and it is available every 15 minutes; it takes around 60 minutes to reach Macau ferry outer terminal from HK ferry terminal.


After reaching Macau outer terminal, we decided to take a city bus tour package, this is the best option to cover all the best attractions. Also, HKD is accepted at most of the places in Macau and there is no exchange rate difference.

CITY BUS TOUR: OPEN-TOP BUS TOUR

I bought a ‘City Bus Tour’ ticket from the ferry terminal only and the bus was available in front of the terminal (across the road to the other side). Many tourists select the option of City Bus Tour to save time in exploring local buses. Buy the city bus ticket from unit 1646, arrival hall of Macau Outer ferry terminal- Ticket cost was HK$ 160 adult. It has 15 Tourist Attractions and service is available every 45 minutes.

Most of the attractions are very near-by and can be walked if you don’t want to wait for the bus. Our First stop was Lisboa Hotel and Casino.

LISBOA HOTEL & CASINO

It’s a very beautiful ‘Architecture’ from outside and inside as well. It is a very famous hotel and casino. It is divided into two buildings. I had visited the main one and was amused to see the interior. We were not allowed to go inside of the Casino as we were accompanied by small kinds. Kids are not allowed in casinos.

Lisboa Hotel Macau
Lisboa Hotel Macau

SENADO SQUARE

Senado square is a public place and good for shopping at an open local market. It is also good for dinning. It is paved with wave-patterned mosaic colored stones created by the Portuguese. I could not see those waves as it was a very crowded place the time I had visited.

RUINS OF ST PAUL

It is one of the highly visited places. If you have come to Macau and not visited ‘Ruins of St Paul’, that means you have not visited top attractions in Macau. It was built in the 19th century and is now a facade of college and church.

Central Square Macau
Central Square Macau
Ruins of St Paul
Ruins of St Paul

MACAU TOWER

The height is around 338 meters above the city and it is the 8th tallest tower in Asia. The tower entry ticket which includes skyline entrance was HKD 130 adult but we got it at a discounted price, we got it in HKD 110 adult. After reaching the skyline, there were breathtaking panoramic views of Macau City, you can even notice China and Pearl River.

There is a Revolving Tower Restaurant which has seating capacity of 250 persons, and it takes 60 minutes to complete one revolution.

VENETIAN MACAU

Venetian Macau is the world’s largest Casino, it is also one of Asia’s most exciting entertainment destinations. They offer over 350 international shops for shopping and the hotel has around 3000 rooms and all are suites with all the luxury.

CITY OF DREAMS

City of Dreams was our last destination. City of Dreams is also one of the highly visited places. The resort offers electrifying entertainment, an amazing accommodation, designer brand shopping and both regional and international dining experience.

City of Dreams Macau
City of Dreams Macau

As I mentioned above that there are free bus services available from the Casino, we took the bus from City of dreams to Macau Outer Ferry Terminal. We took the ferry ticket and had to wait for 1 hour as it was a very crowded day.

Just to mention here that last Turbojet ferry was at 1:00 am. So you can enjoy till 12:00 am in Macau and take the last ferry to Hongkong. It was already 2:00 am by the time we reached our hotel and we had to catch our flight to the Philippines tomorrow morning at 8:30 am or I should say the same day at 8:30 am. 🙂

Overall my vacation in Hongkong and Macau is one of the best memories so far. It was my dream to celebrate New-Year in Hongkong. Do write your comments and your experience in Hongkong and Macau.

TOP PLACES TO VISIT IN SOUTH KOREA

SK

South Korea is a quite beautiful place. It is known for natural beauty and it is thoroughly modern, engaging and one of the thrilling destinations for travelers. City like Seoul is vibrant and has fantastic nightlife and the chance to discover new technologies. It’s a destination of scenic national parks and plenty of places for tourists. Further in this blog, i will write about Top pick destinations to travel/visit in south korea.

READ MORE: CHERRY BLOSSOMS IN SOUTH KOREA

SUWON

Suwon is the capital of Gyeonggi Province, in northwestern South Korea. It’s known for the late-18th-century Hwaseong Fortress, with 4 pagoda-topped arched gates. You can also explore Hwahongmun gate, Hwaseong Haenggung Palace with beautiful and traditional banquet hall. Other near by places Yeonmudae Post, it was used at military training ground. To learn about its construction, do visit Suwon Hwaseong Museum.

How to Reach: It is easily accessible from Seoul by car or train. It is around 30 km from Seoul.

Attractions: The World cup stadium and Big bird are the main attractions. To learn about Historic architecture, visit Hwaseong Fortress.

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 CHUNCHEON

This is the place known for lakes and towering mountains. Chuncheon is the capital city of Gangwon Province. Well, this is also called foodie’s paradise. Most of the tourists visit this place for filming locations. And then they want to satisfy their taste.

How to Reach: It is only 1.5 hours of road travel from Seoul. You can take a Tourist Bus or you can hire a taxi and you can also rent a self driven car.

What to do: Must visit Soyang Dam, Statue Park (Also known as Cheongpyeong-sa Temple). After visiting these attractions, go to Dakgalbi Street. Here every restaurant serves their famous dish Dakgalbi (A grilled chicken with spicy vegetables and rice) in their own style.autumn-yeouido-park-seoul-korea


 BUSAN

Busan is a Major port and it is the second largest city in the country. It is home to many beautiful beaches and hot springs. Busan is also known for ”place of temples”. One of the cultural villages is Gamcheon, it is on colorful hills overlooking the water. Busan is also good for shopping and museums. It is a place for outdoor activities with “Haeundae Beach, Taejongdae Parkand Nakdong River Bird Sanctuary.

READ MORE: 5 REASONS TO VISIT JEJU ISLAND

How to Reach: Train is the easiest mode of travel in South Korea. Train from Seoul takes around 2 hours 40 minutes to Busan.

BUSAN


JEONJU

If you want to embrace the local culture and get to know its history, make your way to the Jeonju Hanok Village. Jeunju is known as spiritual capital with lots of Temples and Museums. You can find traditional homes from the 20th Century. When in Jeonju, do not miss to visit “Impressive Jeounju National Museum ” with a collection of artifacts. If you’d like to try local food then you must try Bibimbap.

How to Reach: Train is the best way, it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes from Seoul.

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SEORAKSAN NATIONAL PARK

This place is for hiking lovers. Please do visit Seoraksan which is the best known of mountain range in south korea. Also, an epic beauty for photos. To do activities at Seoraksan National Park are Jagged, Rocky Mountains Peaks, Crystal clear streams and perfect view of lakes. You will also find more than 2,000 animal species in Seoraksan. Do not forget to pick up your free map from the National Park Visitor Center

How to Reach: You can reach this place by train in around 3 hours 40 minutes from Seoul.seorakshan


 JEJU ISLAND

Off the southern coast of Asian country is Jeju Island, the country’s solely Special Autonomous Province. Nicknamed Island of the Gods, Jeju may be a climatic zone destination referred to as one in every one of the highest honeymoon and vacation spots in Asian countries. In addition to stunning beaches, volcanic rock tubes and luxurious inexperienced scenery, Jeju boasts a long list of tourist attractions and amusement parks. you’ll be able to get to understand the native culture at the Seongeup traditional knowledge Village, otherwise you might visit Glass Castle, an issue park that revolves around glass sculptures. Maybe the oddest and most arguable attraction in Jeju is Love land, an issue park that includes romantic and adults-only attractions.

READ MORE: CHERRY BLOSSOMS IN SOUTH KOREA

How to Reach: The best way to travel is by flight from Seoul. Though ferry’s are also available, it takes too much time.jeju


ANDONG

Over a period of 2,000 years, Andong is typically said to be the Capital town of Korean religious Culture. Maybe the biggest attraction within the town is the Andong Hahoe people Village, where native cultural heritage has been preserved and is shared with guests. However, it’s foodies who will most fancy a visit to Andong. The town boasts all types of native specialties, beginning with a far-famed chicken and noodle dish known as jjimdak. Andong is additionally home to a special sort of alcohol known as soju, thus have a sip before you depart town.

How to Reach: This place is not far, easy to access by train in 3 hours 30 minutes from Seoul.and


DMZ

The DMZ is the boundary space between North and South Korea. It’s thought of as a peace zone. Whereas travelers will visit the demilitarized zone, not all areas of the zone are safe. a solely atiny low portion of the demilitarized zone, called the JSA or Joint Security space, is hospitable to the general public. In the JSA, you’ll be able to physically substitute Asian country, though you’ll be inside a building that additionally houses South Korean troopers. you’ll be able to additionally visit a North Korean novelty shop that sells stamps, wine and currency from Asian countries. bear in mind that the sole thanks to visit the demilitarized zone is on a licensed and radio-controlled tour.

How to Reach: It is a guided tour. Better book your tour with travel companies.dmz


GYEONGJU

Gyeongju is the ancient capital of what was once the Silla Kingdom. This makes the town over a pair of 2,000 years previous. Gyeongju is a fantastic destination that boasts a variety of temples and cultural festivals. begin your stopover at the Bulguksa Temple, a real masterpiece of Buddhist faith and art that dates back to the eighth century. Then, hike up from the temple to the Seokguram grot for even additional Buddhist culture and artifacts. Don’t miss the coated Market, a set of vendors merchandising everything from Silla souvenirs to freshly created Korean delicacies.

How to Reach: Train is available between Seoul to Gyeongju. And it takes around 3 hours 50 minutes.sk


SEOUL

Seoul is out and away the most important town in South Korea and a significant destination in East Asia. If you’re disbursed any time within the country, there’s a decent likelihood you’ll be visiting Seoul for some purpose. There’s without stopping to the attractions within the town, however several guests begin with a number of the various palaces set in Seoul. high picks embrace the unimaginable Gyeongbok-gung and also the fifteenth century Changdeok-gung. You’ll additionally notice ancient temples and shrines, stunning public parks, stylish style, looking malls and a few of the simplest cuisines of all of Asia.seoul

TAJ MAHAL: THE PARADISE: AGRA: INDIA

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Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. Everyone wants to visit this symbol of love once in their lifetime. The beauty of Taj Mahal is magnificence. I Visited The Taj Mahal when I was 8 years old, which was in 1992. Very few people used to visit that time and I was one of them. I also got a chance to visit the secret chamber (which is now closed for tourists), where Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaj Mahal lie entombed in this mausoleum. After that I visited several times and every-time I was mesmerized by the beauty of The Taj Mahal.

HISTORY OF TAJ MAHAL

Shah Jahan built this magnificent structure for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The construction of Taj Mahal started in the year 1631. Calligraphers, masons, in-layers, stone-cutters, carvers, painters, dome-builders and other artisans were requisitioned from the whole of the Mugal empire and also from Central Asia and Iran. It took long 22 years to build this beautiful structure that we see today. An epitome of love, it made use of the services of 22,000 laborers and 1,000 elephants. The monument was built entirely out of white marble, which was procured from all over India and Central Asia. Taj Mahal was finally completed in the year 1653 with expenditure of around 32 million rupees.dsc_6995-800x534taj-mahal-1

VISITING HOURS OF TAJ MAHAL

Taj Mahal is open from 30 minutes before sunrise and upto 30 minutes before sunset during normal operating days.

Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays. It is open in the afternoon for those who have to attend prayers at the Mosque. 

Ticket Outlets: 

  • Taj Mahal Western Gate :- Tickets are available on Western Gate near Saheli Burj.
  • Taj Mahal Eastern Gate :- Tickets are available at Eastern Gate of Taj Mahal.

Entry Fees: For Indians – 40/- INR. Citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries – 530/- INR and for Foreign Tourist – 1000/- INR.

Tickets are also available online at asi.payumoney.com.

AGRA FORT

After visiting Taj Mahal, the next stop must be Agra fort. Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site. And it is also known as Lal Qila. It is about 2.5 km northwest and its much more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. This fort was built by Akbar in Red Sandstone in 1654. Agra Fort worked both as a military strategy point as well as the royal residence.

29-1511939960-4Agra-Fort-(India)

Visiting Hours of Agra Fort:

Opens on all days/ Open from Sunrise to Sunset

Entrance Fee:

Foreigners: INR 520/-

Indian: INR 20/-

Agra played an important center of the Mughal Empire; it was in a ruined condition and Akbar decided to make it his capital. And then they built Agra fort and increased many chambers. The locals say that Aurangzeb, son of Shah Jahan, imprisoned Shah Jahan in Lal Qila. He was imprisoned in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with an excellent view of the Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan used to see the Taj Mahal and remembered his wife Mumtaz Mahal. A must visit place in your lifetime, the symbol of love, a place where you can spend the whole day.

THINGS TO DO AT HALONG BAY DAY TOUR

Halong Bay

Halong bay is a must see place in Vietnam. It’s one of the top destinations  and attracts a lot of tourists. There are various options available – Day tour  or  overnight stay . The Overnight stay is on cruise and you can choose on how many days to stay .We took a day tour to Halong Bay as we were not sure of staying in cruises overnight with small kids.  Booking of the tour was done by Viator (https://www.viator.com) , so you can try the same. The cruises are small, around 5 to 6 rooms, which will give you experience of sea cruising.

Our pickup was at 8:30 am from the Opera House. Most of the tours and travelers do the pickup from near that area . Since, we were staying in an Intercontinental hotel which was not near to that area. Travel time from Hanoi city to Halong bay is around 2 to 2.5 hours one side with one stop (break). We reached Halong bay at 11:15 am.IMG_0255IMG_0290

After boarding the boat , the first activity was having lunch. They served lunch while the cruise started moving slowly towards Halong bay. This place is known for its emerald water and thousands of towering limestone island mountains topped by rain forest. The day activities include – cruise tour of  limestone island, kayak expeditions, fisher village, and Thien Cung cave.

.Halong bay cave

The cruise will take you around those islands for 30 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile the guide will tell you the names of islands – mostly after their shapes, including stone Dog and Teapot islets. Second stop was at Fisher village, you will have two options: ‘Kayak’ and ‘Pedal boat’. It is around a half-n-hour boat ride. They will take you around the fisher village and if high tide they will take you inside the cave in a boat, but if it is low tide then you will not be able to go inside the cave.IMG_0265

Thien Cung Cave was the last stop and amazing in all. The cave is amazing, beautiful and very big. The beautiful rock formations of minerals are amazing. Some man made changes are already visible to this beautiful place – lights, path changes and wiring. Due to this rock formation was affected in that cave. As the years take to form .01 inch of any formation when water drops from the roof.

On the return back , you will hit the bay of Halong bay by 4 pm and drove back to your hotel by 8 pm. It is around 4 to 4.5 hours of total road travel, but the experience of Halong is awesome. So travel doesn’t matter much after seeing those beautiful limestone island and beautiful Thien Cung cave.

THINGS TO DO IN JERUSALEM

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Jerusalem is one of the most visited place or I would say Holy Place in Israel; the tour is not complete if you do not visit Jerusalem. Though the weather was not favorable but I did not want to leave that chance to visit Jerusalem with my Husband (who was free that day and can accompany me). The travel time from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem is 1 hour and 14 minutes. Around 68 km.

I decided not to book any tour packages, just want to figure out everything by-my-self. So took the taxi to local taxi stand from where daily transport available to Jerusalem city with sharing and cheap. You can also use public transport such as Bus, they are cheap and good.

We took Sharing tempo-traveler and one way fair was NIS60 and he dropped us to Jerusalem city; near the very famous attraction “Western Wall”. All the Famous and tourist places are near to each other, there is no extra time in travel. You can visit one place after one place. But, to cover all the attractions, one need a full day time.

“Read: Pre-Travel Guide for Israel

EXPLORE JERUSALEM 


#Western Wall

This is very famous Holy Place. Visiting this place feels that so many religious people are gathering for their prayers. I entered after passing the security (yes, there are security procedures). And, approached to the wall where every one was performing prayers. There is separate area for Women and Men. When I reached near to wall, they were distributing papers with prayers written on it whoever want to take and perform their prayers. It was very different experience for me- they were singing in very low volume voice and touching the Holly wall at the same time.dscn2668dscn2663

#Old City of Jerusalem

You can Hire a taxi outside of western wall; who will take you to all the top rank places. I hired the taxi and started tour from old city of Jerusalem. It has no big buildings, The view is available from top. You can see the complete city from one of the top places.

#Mount of Olives

All the places are very nearby and it will not take more than 15 minutes to reach from one to another. Don’t confuse by the name of Mount of Olives. It is good to see the Olives tree as I have always wondered how it could be.

” When my taxi driver said, ma’am see the mount of Olives. I said, where, where; I can’t see anything. Where is it? And he said we are on mount only and the trees you are seeing are olives tress. I said, that’s it? I was expecting more. Even for other places also, “Old city of Jerusalem” is the only view which you will see from the top. So do not keep high expectations as the name of these attractions.”

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#Israel Museum

This is one the historical ancient places to see ancient Art work. This Museum opened in 1965, this is the only complex where you will find ‘Archaeological’ and ‘Art’. This museum has a very good collection of art by Israeli Painters.

The Opening Hours are: Sat-Mon & Wed-Tus: 10am to 5om; Tue: 4pm to 9pm

The Entry Fee is: Adult-50 NIS, Studets 37 NIS, Child 25NIS

The entry is free on every Tuesday and Saturday. http://www.imjnet.org.il 


It was indeed a very cold day, and I enjoyed every bit of it. There is a local market which is next to ‘Western Wall’ and good for buying souvenirs if you have not done yet. It is a very big market and deep inside.

” Please keep in mind that you remember the road you entered. And all the Market lanes look the same and are a little confusing for tourists. so better you come back to the same road instead of thinking to go till the end. I’ve tried that and it took me to housing colonies and it was very confusing. Then I came back and took the lane to exit through the market.

They close early, you can also pack and start back to your place if you are not staying in Jerusalem. I thought of more adventure and decided to take Bus from Jerusalem to Tel-Aviv. It was a good decision and a nice experience too. Went to the Bus terminal and took the ticket of NIS15 per person only.

Jerusalem was not the end of my tour, after reaching the hotel; I was googling about Tel-aviv and my next day tour.

“Read: Day 4 in Tel-Aviv